Backdrop for the Second Movement of Seventh
The Ballet Russe Collection
© 2001 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Ballet in four movements choreographed by Leonide Massine.
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven.
Scenery by Christian Berard.
First production by the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo
Monte Carlo, May 5, 1938.
Original title: La Septieme Symphonie.
The four movements of the ballet bore subtitles, and the general
tones of the scenery were in association with those:
- The Creation (grey);
- The Earth (ochre);
- The Sky (blue);
- Bacchanale (red).
"Seventh Symphony was sterner stuff [than Gaite
Parisienne]. It was what Massine termed a symphonic ballet, a
ballet in which a famous piece of concert music was given
choreographic realization, usually of an allegorical or symbolic
nature. Here, to the Beethoven symphony that Wagner once dubbed the
'apotheosis of the dance', Massine depicted nothing less than the
creation and destruction of the world. The first movement showed
the spirit of creation joyously summoning the creatures of earth to
life, while the second, with its procession of lamenting women
carrying the inert body of a young man, suggested that this idyll
had been shattered by the coming of death. In the third... gods
disported themselves in the sky. On earth, however, in the fourth
movement, mankind gave itself up to debauchery until divine
judgment sent fire to consume the world."
Jack Anderson, The One and Only: The Ballet Russe de Monte
Nearly all pieces of this ballet's scenery can be found in the
Butler Ballet's collection, except for a drop for the third
movement (if there was one). We have three sets of legs and borders
for each movement, and three drops altogether. Unfortunately, only
the sets for the second movement have remained relatively
unscathed. The first and third movement in particular have become
very faded, and this makes it hard to distinguish much of anything
beside the general tone of the set.
Below are the pictures of the sets for each movement.
Scenery for the First Movement, The
Creation (touched-up image)
Scenery for the Third Movement, The
Sky (the backdrop is the from the first movement)
Scenery for the Second Movement, The
Earth (reconstructed image)
Scenery for the Fourth Movement,
Reproduction, including downloading of Berard works is
prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without
the express written permission of Artists Rights Society
(ARS), New York.